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IndyCar Series: Bombardier Learjet 550

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Bombardier Learjet 550

IndyCar Series: Bombardier Learjet 550

Scott Dixon
Chip Ganassi
June 7, 2008


FORT WORTH, TEXAS

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by tonight's winner of the Bombardier Learjet 550K, Scott Dixon. This is Scott's first win at Texas Motor Speedway. Talk about your night. You're the fifth winner to start from the pole. Take us through your night and finally winning at Texas.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I think starting from the pole, obviously doesn't last too long. I think Helio led the first lap, and we opted to have four top gears tonight -- sorry, three top gears instead of two top gears, so that made us struggle quite a bit on the restarts, and pretty much every time on the restart we got put there, so it was interesting from that standpoint. And I definitely didn't want to have a restart with maybe a white checkered there because with the Penske cars behind us we were going to struggle to hold onto that position.
But everybody drove pretty fair, I think, all night. Some of the traffic was quite difficult to get through, more difficult than years past, especially towards the end of the tire stint we were sliding around quite a bit, a lot in 3 and 4 and the exit of 2, which made it difficult to get around some of those guys, and I lost a lot of momentum, and Helio. But I think once we worked it out, that's where we started to pull away from those guys a little bit more.
So it was a good night overall for the guys, especially in the pit stops were phenomenal. Every time I needed to jump a spot they would push me right out to the front, again, which is what they've been doing all year, so I've definitely got a lot to owe them.
THE MODERATOR: Also joined by team owner Chip Ganassi. This is your second win at Texas Motor Speedway. Talk about those last laps and picking up your second win here at Texas.
CHIP GANASSI: Yeah, just a matter of really -- it wasn't so much the last laps, it was leading up to that. It was a bit of a fuel race before that. I think with about 25 to go, it started to be a fuel race, and with that -- not the last yellow, the one previous, second-to-last yellow, made it possible for everybody to be full red, so that brought kind of the excitement back to the front there.
You know, I'm just happy for Scott, I'm happy for the team. All the guys back in Indianapolis that work on the cars, real proud of those guys, and it's our second win here at Texas and our second win today. In fact, the GrandAm team won up at Watkins Glen, they won the six-hour race today, so that's a pretty big day for us.

Q. There were a lot of cautions through the first third of the race. Was it because the fuel needed to get thinned down a little bit because you guys needed to get used to racing with this many cars on the track? What do you think it was?
SCOTT DIXON: I think some of it was definitely more cars on the track. I think most of the cautions were from back in the pack, and typically -- especially at a place like that, you're still on the edge, especially in race conditions, and I think when you get so many cars running you lose a lot of downforce. When you're back there, there's probably two or three guys trying to pass you at that same point.
I think once you have a yellow, they brew yellows, and it was real hard to get into a rhythm until you sort of single-filed some of those out and got going on that long stint. I think there's still many guys that are learning what to do out there. Especially a place like this, man, it took me a long time to get used to it, and at that point there was maybe 18 cars.

Q. It was around the middle portion of the race, you had some instances there where you were side by side with I believe it might have been Castroneves and then Marco was coming up to maybe make it three wide. How tough was that during that portion of the race with that type of battle?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it was a bit annoying actually at that point because nobody wanted to give in. I just wanted to lead a little bit, Helio didn't want to give the lead up, yet we were sitting side by side on full rich and burning a ton of fuel. I tried for probably 10 or 12 laps just to see if somebody would give in, and then Marco, because he was working that high line so well, was having a bit of a sniff there, as well.
But everybody drove really well together. The leaders out front gave each other room. Nobody ever tried to pinch anybody at any point I think until that sort of last incident with Hunter-Reay and Marco, but you've got eight laps to go and everybody is trying to make position, so that's totally different. But Helio and Marco when I was with them were driving fine.

Q. On the lap that you passed Marco, it was 222, can you take us through that again? You said he gave you some room. Was it a little bit easier than you thought, or was he -- did you just stick your nose in there and he couldn't counter?
SCOTT DIXON: I think earlier in the race Marco and I had a few comings-together there. I think when he was leading I was trying to go under him and he kept sort of entering in the middle lane and then halfway through the turn he'd be on the bottom so would enter on the bottom and stay on the bottom and then he'd cut in front of us. Even when I was on the inside of him I had to back off, and I think I started moaning a little bit on the radio, as everybody does, and I think he might have got -- somebody might have said something to him about it.
To be honest, at the end, he left it wide open. I don't know what he was doing. You could have fit two or three cars through there. Marco's car was working on the high line. Maybe he couldn't sit on the bottom. But if it was me I wouldn't have given him the same room.

Q. Chip, you mentioned outside you would like to see some kind of rules for green-white checkered. Scott obviously probably doesn't. Is that something we should really see in IndyCars, or just leave that in NASCAR land?
CHIP GANASSI: I think with the fans, and I saw some of the fans walking out before the checkered even fell, that's all. It's just disappointing. They come to see a show, and they deserve to see a show, they deserve to see a good finish. They deserve to see an exciting finish. I understand the difference between IndyCars and stock cars and why some people think you can't do it. But I think there's a way to do it, and I just think we need to sit down and get our heads together and figure out how to do it so it makes it fair for everybody.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, obviously tonight I wouldn't have liked to be in that situation, but maybe last week in Milwaukee I would have liked a different situation, so it's going to come and go. But yeah, I agree totally with Chip. It doesn't seem to happen too often with us, but that's two weekends in a row now where we finished on the caution, and the fans come first. That's why we're here. They pay to come see us, and that's the only reason why we can race. If they can do something to help that, I think it's going to be better for everybody, and it's going to work for you one weekend and it's not going to work for you the other.

Q. Chip, the team -- both your cars are running extremely well. What did the team do over the winter to pick up the pace to where you are because you're obviously now the team to beat, either car in any race?
CHIP GANASSI: And when I'm finished telling you that, I'll give you the recipe for Coca-Cola (laughing). I mean, we just worked hard, that's all. The guys worked really hard in Indianapolis. I'm not going to tell you what they did, but they worked really hard. They're earning these victories.
You know, I'm sure other teams are working just as hard to surmount us. You know, no one is working any less hard. I can tell you it worries me because these other guys are catching up to us I can see.

Q. Chip, you've had a lot of great runs by a lot of great drivers in your day. Where does Scott's kind of -- what he's done the last year, going back to the middle of last year, where does that kind of rank?
CHIP GANASSI: I mean, it's right up there. He's right there at the top. I mean, those are different days and it's hard to compare guys year to year, let alone after a couple years or five years or something. You know, cars are different, engines are different, tires are different. You know, I've been blessed to have some great drivers and I'm blessed that I have great ones right now.

Q. Back to that side-by-side battle early in the race, Helio said that he was definitely doing it because he wanted those three points. Were you thinking the same thing?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, because we've been going after that quite a bit this season. I don't even know who got the three points in the end. He did, yeah, okay. Wow, I was trying for it. But those points are valuable. If you can pick those up over the season, that can be nearly 50 points or 45 points at least. So it's something that we are definitely trying to go for, and I think probably what made both of us quite stubborn at that point.



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